Last update: 10:50 | 14/05/2018
VietNamNet Bridge – An excavation has unearthed a section of the foundations and walls of a trench on the southwest of the ruined Dien Hai Citadel in the city’s downtown district following a restoration project that began last month.
Excavated: A brick wall section of trench is excavated on the west side of the Dien Hai Citadel in Da Nang City. — VNS Photo Le Lam
Director of Da Nang Museum Huynh Dinh Quoc Thien said the first excavation exposed a 126m wall section on the west of the citadel, which was built by brick and mortar.
A section of foundations 14.2m long and 4.2m wide was also found next to the citadel wall on the west side. This foundation was built from laterite and pebble.
The excavation team suggested measuring the original section of the wall and foundation, and dismantling broken or damaged brick sections for restoration, Thien said.
The wall of the trench will be restored to fit the primary plan of the citadel, Thien said on Friday.
The team will have to revaluate the section of foundation on the west side of the citadel, due to a lack of original documents and drawings.
Natural beauty: An overview of the Hai Van Gate with two brick gates and some bunkers left from the war time. — VNS Photo Cong Thanh
According to the national heritage council, the ruins of the citadel may be the last monument in Da Nang that symbolises the sacrifice of local people and soldiers in the fight against French-Spanish colonial forces in 1858-60.
The citadel, which was recognised as a National Special Relic, is a link to Nguyen Tri Phuong (1800-73), a famous general who commanded a Vietnamese army to fight the foreign invaders.
The city still preserves the graveyard of French-Spanish coalition soldiers who died during the 1858-60 fighting.
The citadel, which is now the site of the city’s museum on Tran Phu Street, was first built as a military outpost in the twelfth year of King Gia Long’s reign (1813), near the mouth of the Han River, to control access to Da Nang Port and serve as an important defensive position.
It was renamed the Dien Hai Citadel in 1835, the fifteenth year of King Minh Mang’s reign, after it was moved inland and rebuilt on a high mount in 1823, during the fourth year of Minh Mang’s reign.
The citadel still has a moat between two brick walls and a cannon collection displayed outdoors. It has a total dimension of 653m, including two layers of walls (5.64m high inner walls and 3.29m outside wall) and a trench system 21.15m wide and 3.29m deep.
A collection of 11 iron cannons cast during the Nguyen Dynasty between 1802 and 1860 and unearthed at the Dien Hai Citadel between 1979 and 2008, is planned for recognition as a national treasure.
Relic: The north gate of Hai Van sits on the top of Hai Van Pass. — VNS Photo Cong Thanh
Hai Van Gate
Another excavation began on an area of 600sq.m on the Hai Van Gate on the Hai Van Pass in the border of Thua Thien-Hue Province and Da Nang City in a restoration project.
The Hai Van Gate was recognised as National Historical Relic last year.
The Hai Van Gate, situated on the top of Hai Van Pass, is a complex of brick-built gates dating from the Tran Dynasty (1470), and octagonal bunkers from the French colonial period.
It’s a historical relic on the most beautiful pass in central Vietnam, and a landmark for Da Nang and Thua Thien-Hue.
An excavation team will dig up the area to search for damaged items, and will preserve the current buildings (two bunkers and the concrete roof of the southern gate), as well as the brick gate and stone walls.
Looking deeper: An excavation begins on the Hai Van Gate of the Hai Van Pass between Da Nang and Thua Thien-Hue. — VNS Photo Cong Thanh
The relic, which is sandwiched on the border of Lang Co Town in Thua Thien-Hue Province’s Phu Loc District and Da Nang’s Hoa Hiep Bac Ward in Lien Chieu District, attracts about 1,000 visitors per day who come by bike or bus from Hue and Da Nang.
The relic has been left in ruins since Da Nang separated from former Quang Nam-Da Nang Province in 1997.
In 1470, King Tran Nhan Tong proclaimed that the Hai Van Gate was ‘the most marvellous wonder’ in Vietnam. The inscriptions on the gate arches have survived.